• Donation will help lower-income undergraduate students
  • U.S. colleges raised record $40.3 billion in 2015 fiscal year

Michael Moritz, chairman of venture capital firm Sequoia Capital, and his wife, Harriet Heyman, are giving $50 million to her alma mater, the University of Chicago, to help lower-income students.

The funds will bolster the school’s scholarship program for undergraduates, which eliminates loans and work requirements during the school year for lower-income students, the university said in a statement Wednesday. The program also includes support for study abroad, academic enrichment and career development through paid internships.

Michael Moritz
Michael Moritz
Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

“Beyond tuition, students with great economic needs also need a support network, internships and the opportunity to experience the world,” Moritz said in the statement.

Record Gifts

The gift comes at an extraordinary time for fundraising in higher education -- especially at the wealthiest colleges -- as U.S. schools raised a record $40.3 billion in the year through June 30. Earlier this month, Cornell University announced a $50 million donation from Robert F. Smith, chairman and chief executive officer of private equity firm Vista Equity Partners. Last month, Brown University said Jonathan Nelson, founder and chief executive officer of Providence Equity Partners, is giving the school $25 million.

The University of Chicago also announced in September a $100 million pledge from entrepreneurial twin brothers Thomas L. Pearson and Timothy R. Pearson, the second largest gift in its history, to create an institute to study global conflicts. The school, with a record-high $7.6 billion endowment, is the third wealthiest in the Midwest.

The New York Times earlier reported Moritz’s donation.

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